News for

Sun Mar 17 News:  e-Communitarian  *  Minister  *  RE  *  Practice: Being Animal (Ecospiritual)  *  On the Journey: Humility

2019-03-21

Religious Education News: Sun Mar 24

In addition to being St. Patrick’s Day, March the 17th was also a day of celebration, unity, and shared faith at CUUC. It was a beautiful multigenerational gathering of our five Westchester UU congregations, each one contributing their thoughts and prayers as well as music. It was the first time that we had set up a “quiet play” area in the sanctuary where the children could enjoy simple activities while experiencing the words, music, and rituals of our faith. The area had a big welcoming rug, cushions, and bright lime green milk crates filled with books, stickers, puzzles, etc. We also had on hand our usual Sunday “quiet boxes” (recently replenished thanks to Kim Force), which kids could keep with them if they chose to sit with their families instead. Some parents took advantage of sitting in the quiet area as well, to be near their children. At first the children were a little reticent about sitting in a separate area, but one by one curiosity got the best of them and before we knew it there was a bevy of activity, children working together on puzzles, laughing, and their voices at a decibel level that did not disturb the service. I felt like the Pied Piper with 15 children spilling over the area, much to my delight. This integrated RE “class,” if you will, proved to be a successful and impactful exercise for the children, promoting independence and collaborative sharing. What an affirming demonstration of honoring and rejoicing in our little UU congregants! Simultaneously, while the service was taking place, there was a breakfast for the 6th through 12th grade youth of several congregations. This forum enabled neighboring DREs and assorted advisors –- including our Cyndi Tillman, UUCHV’s Jane Podell, and CUUC’s soon-to-be DLRE Tracy Breneman –- to meet the youth, and afforded the youth an opportunity to socialize, discuss issues and ideas of relevance to them, but most importantly worship as a group of newly discovered friends. We have all walked away from this event not only gratified but re-energized as well. It is our hope that we can continue the children’s quiet area on a semi-regular basis, and strive to engage and attract our older youth in taking an active part in designing and facilitating their own youth program in tandem with the youth counselors. These options for all the children provide inclusion, dedication, and an avenue by which to grow in mind and spirit.

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, March 24
Grades K-7 start in the sanctuary to listen to the Centering Music performed by our special musical guests, jazz legends Valerie Capers and John Robinson. The kids then move to Fellowship Hall for our Environmental Sunday program, led by the CUUC Environmental Practices Group. Grades 8-12 start in their classrooms.

Upcoming Youth Cons
The Metro NY Social cons (conferences) provide a safe space for UU youth from NY, CT, and NJ to meet, bond, and explore their religious identities together through worship, workshops, and fun! (They are also a great place for adult advisors to connect and support one another!)

Metro NY Youth Conference, March 29-31, UU Congregation of Danbury, CT
Our spring Youth Con in Danbury is for kids in grades 9-12. At cons district youth meet one another, build community, explore their religious identity, create worship, practice leadership, and have fun. Information and registration links HERE. Registrar is Monica Schlichting (monikai@optonline.net).

Metro NY Spring Junior High Youth Conference, April 6-7, CUUC
Registration is open! This 24-hour event for youth in grades 6-8 is a fun opportunity to connect with other UU youth. Information and registration links HERE. Questions about programming? Contact Denice Tomlinson (denice1uu@yahoo.com). Questions about registration? Contact Charlie Neiss(cneiss@aol.com).

Help Feed Our Visiting Junior High Youth
Volunteers are needed to bring food items and cooked dishes on Sat Apr 6 to provide meals and snacks for the kids and adult advisors attending the Junior High Youth Con. Please contact CUUCevents@gmail.com to learn more.

2019 Variety Show Fundraiser, Sat May 4, 5:00pm
Help us get ready for the fun! PERFORMERS (adults AND kids) sign up in the RE lobby; BAKE SALE sign-ups: Contact Benetta Barnett (benettabarnett@hotmail.com); RAFFLE PRIZE DONATIONS: Contact Liz Suvanto (elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com).

2019-03-20

Music: Sun Mar 24



Welcome back jazz legends Valerie Capers and John Robinson, two of CUUC’s most beloved guest performers! And, be sure to attend our annual Jazzfest! Event on Saturday evening, May 18 with the Valerie Capers Trio. Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Valerie Capers, piano; John Robinson, guitar
“Some Other Time”
                            Leonard Bernstein

Opening Music: 
“Don’t Get Around Much Any More”
                                    Duke  Ellington.

Offertory:
“In a Mellow Tone” 
                                     Ellington

Interlude: 
 “Brotherhood Begins with You and Me”  from In Praise of Freedom 
                           Valerie Capers

Postlude:
“One Note Samba”
                            Antonio Carlos Jobim. 

2019-03-16

From the Minister, Sun Mar 17

Fri Mar 15

Dear Ones,

I got a call from Yency today that I wanted to tell you about. Down in Charlotte, NC, where he lives, a new sheriff was elected for the county (Mecklenberg) in 2018 Nov. The new sheriff, Gary McFadden, had campaigned on a promise to end the county’s participation in 287-g – a controversial program in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deputizes state and local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law.

On McFadden’s first day in office he made good on his promise, and ended local law enforcement’s participation on immigration law. Yency told me that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was not pleased with McFadden’s decision and has been exacting retribution against Mecklenberg County by stepping up the number of raids. In vans disguised to look like a construction company vehicle, ICE has been all over town, day after day. They nab the undocumented at convenience stores or at their homes. They block off intersections and check each car they suspect of containing undocumented workers.

Miguel Maldanado was recently taken into custody – Miguel is a cousin of Yency’s spouse, Evelin. Miguel had no criminal record, and so was allowed to go – provided that $12,000 in bail was posted. A friend of Miguel’s, apprehended at the same time, had a traffic violation. It was probably Driving Without a License, Yency said. The undocumented do a lot of driving without a license since North Carolina law doesn’t allow them to get a license. Because of the violation, Miguel’s friend was deported.

$12,000 for bail represented a significant hardship for Miguel – and for the extended family and friends who chipped in to raise the amount. But it would have been even worse to not have been able to get back to work.

The immigrant community in Charlotte – as in much of the country – lives under a constant threat of their families being torn apart. Tragic and cruel deportations are common and the shadow of fear is unrelenting.

This wrong is devastating to its direct victims and distressing to all people of conscience. The fact that it is happening to my own family doesn’t make it more distressing. But it does have a way of sharpening my awareness of it.

Yours in faith,
Meredith

Practice of the Week: Being Animal We are deeply embedded in a grand story, an epic tale beyond any we could imagine -- a small part of which tells of our own waking up to the beauty of the interconnected web of which we are NOT at the center. Surely there is spiritual sustenance here: wonder, awe, and common ground to bind us. We have only begun to appreciate the fullness this spirituality offers. READ MORE

Your Moment of Zen: What Is Mind? Grandma was in #63-#68. Then Grandma and Granddaughter together were in #73 (where Grandma told Granddaughter to follow her bliss) and #80 (where they discussed reading).

Dogen (1200-1253) said, "Mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars."
When asked "What is Buddha?" Mazu (709-88) answered, "Mind is Buddha." (But Mazu later said, "There is neither mind nor Buddha.")

As for whether anything will do, it's like what the life of your as-yet-unborn grandchild will be about. Although it could be anything, not just anything will do. What doesn't fit doesn't fit.

Case
Sitting around after supper one night, Granddaughter looked up from a book she was reading and asked, "What is mind?"
Grandma said, "Kitty is crying for food."
Granddaughter asked, "Do you mean anything will do?"
Grandma said, "No."
Granddaughter waited for more, but Grandma had returned to her knitting. She sighed and got up up to feed he cat.
Later, Turkey reported this to Raven and asked her opinion. Raven croaked, and then croaked again.
Turkey asked, "Will that do it?"
Raven said, "Apparently not."
Verse
It's like this, I've heard.
The brain -- yours, mine, a beetle's,
A dolphin's, a dog's, a bacterium's,
a turtle's, a penguin's, a carp's --
Extends through the nervous system,
And to the body, and to the world
That tickles the senses,
To fire motor neurons, or something,
To tickle back.

This being so --
The world being made of micro and macro
Tickle-loops everywhere, endless and beginningless --
Where is mind to be found?
Where not?
Case by Robert Aitken, adapted; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
PREVIOUS   ☙   INDEX

2019-03-15

Religious Education News: Sun Mar 17

A busy Sunday unfolded last week in RE as the children had another opportunity to engage with Perry on the theme of humility. He conducted a “voting with your feet” contest by posing questions or scenarios that were either humble or bragging. One side of the room was “true” and the other “false.” The answers were flying as well as the feet and the children were eager to get all the answers right! A few weeks ago, Perry and I facilitated a Teacher Enrichment session after worship. The turnout was good, with approximately 15 teachers. Afterward, everyone voiced strong interest in having another session, so we complied with our second edition this past Sunday. There were fewer teachers, but the intimacy of the small group lent itself well to a deeper and more focused discussion. The conversation was productive, blossoming into areas of teaching style, issues with students, class dynamics, etc. Ideas and suggestions thrown out by Perry for possible future RE reorganization were intriguing and prompted many opinions. Once again we ran out of time too soon, opening the possibility of continuing these discussions in the future. Our hope in responding to teachers’ needs and concerns is that we broaden our vested interest and commitment and, more importantly, solidify our community as colleagues.

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, March 17
Grades K-5 are in the sanctuary for our multigenerational Westchester UU Congregations combined worship. Kids can sit with parents or use the area set aside for quiet play. Grades 6th-12th are invited to the youth room (14) for breakfast, worship, conversation, and activity planning.

2019 Variety Show Fundraiser, Sat May 4, 5:00pm
Help us get ready for the fun! PERFORMERS (adults AND kids) sign up in the RE lobby; BAKE SALE sign-ups: Contact Benetta Barnett (benettabarnett@hotmail.com); RAFFLE PRIZE DONATIONS: Contact Liz Suvanto (elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com).

Metro NY Youth Conference, March 29-31, UU Congregation of Danbury, CT
Our spring Youth Con in Danbury is for kids in grades 9-12. At cons district youth meet one another, build community, explore their religious identity, create worship, practice leadership, and have fun. Information and registration links HERE. Registrar is Monica Schlichting (monikai@optonline.net).

Metro NY Spring Junior High Youth Conference, April 6-7, CUUC
Registration is open! This 24-hour event for youth in grades 6-8 is a fun opportunity to connect with other UU youth. Information and registration links HERE. Registrar is Charlie Neiss (cneiss@aol.com).

2019-03-14

Being Animal

Practice of the Week
Being Animal

Category: Ecospiritual. These practices are oriented toward developing our spirituality through our connection with our planet home and our responsibility to care for it.


Your genetic similarity to any other human is about 99.9%. You’re about 96% genetically the same as a chimpanzee, about 90% the same as a cat, 85% the same as a mouse, 80% the same as a cow. How about a fruit fly, a chicken, or a banana? Each of these three is about 60% genetically the same as a human.

The common ancestor of humans, chimps, and bonobos lived about 7 million years ago; the common ancestor of all primates, about 50 million years ago. Our branch split off from the branch that became reptiles and birds about 300 million years ago. We share common ancestors with all living creatures.

This understanding of the connectedness of life is recent. Darwin saw that we were connected, but he had no knowledge of chromosomes or genes. Only in the last couple decades have we sequenced genomes to get the details of our interconnection. The implications of our new understanding are profoundly spiritual and offer us new ways to see ourselves as a species.

We are kin to all that lives upon the Earth – not so different from other life as Westerners long presumed. Many nonwestern cultures have always had a stronger sense of connection and a perspective that was holistic, multisensory, and boundless in scope, enveloping the totality of the cosmos. Western thought is given more to compartmentalizing knowledge and emphasizing difference. Those tendencies led to the development of science, which is now telling us what other cultures assumed: the deep truth of interconnectedness and interdependence is clear.

Not only do we share common ancestors but we carry the story of all life within us. The story encoded within the base pair sequence of our DNA is like a song, written slowly, verse by verse, over eons. Our deepest ancestors wrote the original chorus, the basic chemical processes that made everything possible. Later verses of the song spoke of sense organs, backbones, and limbs. Later still, life sang the verses relating to thought and consciousness, spirit and transcendence.

We are deeply embedded in a grand story, an epic tale beyond any we could imagine -- a small part of which tells of our own waking up to the beauty of the interconnected web of which we are NOT at the center. Surely there is spiritual sustenance here: wonder, awe, and common ground to bind us. We have only begun to appreciate the fullness this spirituality offers.

Practices

1. Shape-Shifting. Find a quiet place and choose an animal you have some familiarity with. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, relax, breathe slowly and deeply, and imagine yourself becoming this animal. Imagine your body transforming, how you move, what you see, hear, and smell. Stay with it for 15-20 mins. When you are ready to end the visualization, acknowledge your kinship to this creature.

2. Discover Your Ancestors. If you wish to learn more about your particular place in the story of humanity, you can use DNA sequencing to discover some of the story of your ancient ancestors. “23 and Me,” National Geographic’s Genographic Project, or Ancestry.com offer genetic testing that will show what areas of the world your ancestors (just the human ones, so far) lived.

3. Mind Map. Journal about your own animal nature, emotions, instincts, and desires. Look past the surface layer of human cognition, and let your deeper inner animal speak. What wisdom does it offer? On the center of the page, write the words inner animal. Then, create a "mind map" by drawing lines radiating outward, and write other words or short phrases that connect or flow from the original phrase. More words or phrases can flow from these as well. The words can be emotions (anger, fear), behaviors (hibernate, hunt), needs, or experiences. Try to write without pausing, allowing your thoughts to fill up the page with words and phrases. When you're finished, look back at the whole page, and see where your thoughts took you. Are there any surprises? A variation on this exercise is to use your non-dominant hand, which sometimes results in fresh perspectives since it utilizes different neural pathways within the brain.

Group Activities

Tree of Life Mural. A group mural can be as simple as taping photos on a wall or as elaborate as a permanent painting in a worship or classroom space. Begin with an image of a bare tree on your wall, and have each participant add images of several animals or plants to the branches, sharing, as they do so, why they chose the particular animals or plants they did. Be sure to include humans somewhere on the tree.

Variation: Use a bare tree branch, either fallen or carefully cut, and create ornaments to hang on it representing the various forms of life on Earth. The finished product can decorate a meeting space.

Questions for Group Conversation:
  • How much of human behavior —such as aggression, food choices, and moral decisions – do you think can be explained by evolutionary forces? What are the implications of such explanations?
  • Are there some forms of life, either plant or animal, to which you feel a particular connection or kinship? Why do you think this is so? What does the connection mean to you?
  • If we think of the Earth as one whole living being, completely interconnected, what role do humans play? Are we the mind of Gaia? The spirit? Or something else entirely?
  • Why is it difficult for WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich Democracies) people to relate to animals, plants, and the natural world with a sense of spiritual kinship? What is it about contemporary culture that makes this such a challenge?

* * *

2019-03-08

Religious Education News: Sun Mar 10

Last Sunday began with a Wonder Box story delivered with great humor by Rev. Garmon. The theme of humility is at best a thoughtful, perhaps complex topic, and for children perhaps a little abstract. The Reverend, with his usual aplomb, laughed at himself as he tried modifying his definition of humility to be understandable, realizing it was a “tough crowd.” He asked the children whether they knew anyone who was a bully or who bragged, and had the students examine whether that behavior was good and what might be better. Our young congregants quickly “got it” and answered that being humble was not showing off or acting better than someone else. A great lesson for sure! After worship, our volunteer adults and youth group members came together with their typical drive and commitment to pull off the Pancake Brunch fundraiser. The kitchen ran like a well-oiled machine under the guidance of Steve Miller and those pancakes were sizzling and flipping in short order (pardon the pun…). The meal left everyone in Fellowship Hall looking full and satisfied, attesting to the success of the event. The volunteer cleanup was so complete and efficient there wasn’t even a custodian fee later! The money raised will all go to PrideWorks, supporting LGBTQ youth and their allies. Many, many thanks to our youth including Evan Cacchione, Joshua Prince, Zach Breault and sister Abbie, and Alex Zisson and sister Callie, and to our adult volunteers, Chris and Kate Breault, Cyndi and Dan Tillman, Liz and Lex Suvanto, Aimee Zipkin, and Steve.

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, March 10
Grades K-5 start in Fellowship Hall. Grades 6th-12th start in classrooms.

Teacher Enrichment Lunch, Sun Mar 10, 11:45am, Fellowship Hall
Join our Director of Faith Development Perry Montrose and RE Coordinator Michele Rinaldi for the next installment of meetings to support our teachers and our RE program. RSVP to cuucre@gmail.com.

2019 Variety Show Fundraiser, Sat May 4, 5:00pm
Help us get ready for the fun! PERFORMERS (adults AND kids) sign up in the RE lobby; BAKE SALE sign-ups: Contact Benetta Barnett (benettabarnett@hotmail.com); RAFFLE PRIZE DONATIONS: Contact Liz Suvanto (elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com).

Metro NY Youth Conference, March 29-31, UU Congregation of Danbury, CT
Our spring Youth Con in Danbury is for kids in grades 9-12. At cons district youth meet one another, build community, explore their religious identity, create worship, practice leadership, and have fun. Information and registration links HERE. Registrar is Monica Schlichting (monikai@optonline.net).

Metro NY Spring Junior High Youth Conference, April 6-7, CUUC
Registration is open! This 24-hour event for youth in grades 6-8 is a fun opportunity to connect with other UU youth. Information and registration links HERE. Registrar is Charlie Neiss (cneiss@aol.com).

2019-03-05

On the Journey: Humility

The Mar issue of On the Journey has arrived! HERE
This month, UU Journey Groups will be exploring HUMILITY. Don't miss it, and don't miss your Journey Group meeting to get together to work with this theme!

The Mar issue of On the Journey features
  • poems from Kobayashi Issa, Jane Taylor, Emily Dickinson, Seamus Heaney, John Bunyan, Charles Simic, and Jan Levitt
  • a quotations page of 33 provocative, witty, or trenchant remarks
  • Commentaries by Rev. Scott Tayler, Pema Chodron, David Brooks, Roger Fisher, and Beverly Flaxington
  • A link to a Carl Sagan video
  • a spiritual exercise for the month
  • a page of intriguing questions
The Questions Page. Select one or two questions to “live into” -- carry around with you for a few days before your group meets. Then share your thoughts or musings with your group.
  1. Has your view of humility changed as you've grown older? Does it mean something different to you now than it did 10 years ago? 20 years ago? Even 30? If it has changed, why? How has that change changed you?
  2. Have you ever had a hard time drawing the line between humility and humiliation? Humility isnt’ (or shouldn’t be) about being a doormat. Have you ever been seduced into believing that "staying small” or “sacrificing yourself" is virtuous? Who or what helps you learn that one can be humble and worthy at the same time? Or are you still trying to learn that?
  3. Has humility ever been dangerous for you? Humble people are honest about their flaws, but being honest about your flaws also leaves you vulnerable. Has this ever got you stomped on? Manipulated? What have you learned about the importance of being “selectively humble”?
  4. Do think humility is different for men and women? Are the costs of humility different for one sex than they are for the other? What about the dangers? The rewards?
  5. Are you happy with your ability to ask for advice or take criticism? When was the last time you genuinely asked for advice or were truly glad for "constructive criticism”? And if you can't remember the last time, what's up with that?
  6. Do you humbly share credit, or do you slyly keep it for yourself? Do you spread the praise? Appreciate others’ contributions? Acknowledge your indebtedness?
  7. Have you mastered the humility of withholding judgment?
  8. When you're hurting, do you humbly ask for help or proudly put on a smiley face and hide your pain?
  9. Has your lack of humility ever made you miss out? What have you held yourself back from, for fear of looking silly or lacking control (dance lessons, learning to ski, risking a date, going back to school)? Is that humility or is it pride?
  10. How much did you earn what you have? In what ways are you, too, guilty of “being born on third base and thinking you hit a triple”? How much are you defined by your accomplishments and status? Do you give enough credit to grace?
  11. How does our culture’s emphasis on wealth-attainment and self-indulgence effect you? Messages prizing the attainment of material wealth and encouraging self-indulgence bombard us daily. We are not entirely free of these expectations. How can we be a member of this society and also nurture and maintain a personal spirit of humility?
  12. What’s your question about humility? Is there some other question that’s niggling at you?
Questions from the poems and commentaries.
  • Is it arrogant to keep one’s house swept clean of spiders?
  • Does humility accentuate beauty?
  • These “meek members of the resurrection”: is this what many living imagine they are and will continue to be in death? Is their humility false?
  • “To labor and not seek reward” – is that “self-forgetful or agony”? What lesson to you find in the mythic St. Kevin?
  • Does humility (sometimes?) have an ulterior motive? If it does, it really humility?
  • Have you felt important (exalted?) lessons were in humble objects? The last line suggests that this, too, is a projection of ego. Do you think it is?
  • Epistemic humility: abandoning pretenses of knowledge. If we acknowledge frankly that we don’t know how to be in the world, does this increase or ease our difficulties?
  • Is awareness of grace the essence of humility?
  • “For us, humility is about sight,” says Tayler. Is that what humility is about? How well do UUs truly know the things claimed for us in his last paragraph? How well do you?
  • Can you be grateful to those who annoy you? Does such gratitude facilitate humility?
  • Is Brooks correct about a “tectonic shift in culture”? What does this shift mean for how you live?
  • What has been your experience of humility, or the lack of it, among those working for social justice?
  • Do Flaxington’s five suggestions seem helpful? How would your assess yourself on these five?
The link to the current and all past issues of On the Journey can always be found at cucmatters.org/p/journey-groups.htm

2019-03-02

From the MInister, Fri Mar 1

The 2018-19 UUA Common Read is:

Come discuss the book! Fri Mar 8, 7:00 at CUUC.

This week, I’m looking at Chapter 11:
Mel Hoover and Rosed Edington, "Water Unites Us.”
Hoover and Edington were co-ministers serving the UU Congregation (UUC) in Charleston, West Virginia in 2014 when a water contamination disaster struck the area.
“Freedom Industries and the West Virginia Water Company (WVAC) allowed 4-methylcyclohexanemethano (MCHM – used for removing clay and shale from coal) to poison a water system serving 300,000 people in nine counties.” (120)
Advisories told people not to use the water for anything other than flushing the toilet and putting out fires. Schools were closed. Restaurants were ordered
“closed until the tap water was declared safe or owners could demonstrate they had enough bottled water on hand to operate. . . . Some went out of business.” (121)
WVAW’s response was slow. Though a two-day supply of water in backup tanks was legally required, there was none.

What did UUC do?

They got to work
“helping low-income families who otherwise would have to choose between purchasing bottled water and paying their rent, delivering water to those who could not get to distribution sites, and organizing and advocating for legislation to ensure safe water.” (122)
In the ensuing, and ultimately successful, drive for new state legislation requiring chemical storage tanks to be registered and monitored, “rallies, demonstrations, and press conferences were often planned at UUC and attended by UUC member” (124).

To help UUC deal with the crisis, more than $24,000 was donated to UUC from individuals and UU congregations in the region and nationally. UUC “established a Clean Water Fund and a Clean Water Task Force to administer the financial donations” (126).

Hoover and Edington remind us
“that water everywhere is at risk, that everyone is downstream from something, and nearly everyone is at potential risk from flooding . . . increases in extreme water events are projected for all US regions” (128).
You’ll want to read the chapter to get the inspiring details of UUC’s work in Charleston.

Questions
How well do you understand the system that delivers water into your home? Where does the water come from? What potentially polluting industries might be a source of toxic contamination?

What do you know about lead poison risk in your area? A map of lead-poisoning risk is HERE. The map shows that a large part of the Bronx is at the highest risk of lead exposure – Risk Level 10. There’s also a Level 10 risk in much of Yonkers and parts of Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle, and Ossining. Other parts of Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle, and Ossining are at Level 9 risk, as are parts of White Plains, Mamaroneck, Hastings-on-Hudson, Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant, Peekskill, and most of Pelham and of Portchester. About 90% of the area of the Bronx is at Risk Level 8 or higher. More than half the area of southern Westchester (that is, south of a line from Armonk to Sleepy Hollow), is at Risk Level 7 or higher. In all of Westchester, nowhere is the risk Level as low as 1 or 2, and there are a only few scattered census tracts at Risk Level 3. All the rest of the county is at Risk Level 4 or higher for lead. CUUC is in a tract assessed at Lead Risk Level 4. To our southeast, the tract on the other side of the Hutchinson is at Lead Risk Level 6. Just north of us, the tract through the middle of which Bryant Ave runs, is at Lead Risk Level 7. What should you know about the factors for lead-exposure risk? What actions are called for?

For my reflection/summary on previous chapters, click the title:
  1. Jennifer Nordstrom, "Intersectionality, Faith, and Environmental Justice"
  2. Paula Cole Jones, "The Formation of the Environmental Justice Movement"
  3. Sheri Prud'homme, "Ecotheology"
  4. Sofia Betancourt, "Ethical Implications of Environmental Justice"
  5. Adam Robersmith, "Cherishing Our World: Avoiding Despair in Environmental Justice Work"
  6. Peggy Clarke, Matthew McHale, "Becoming Resilient: Community Life for a New Age
  7. Kathleen McTigue, "Drawing on the Deep Waters: Contemplative Practice in Justice-Making
  8. Pamela Sparr, "Transforming Unitarian Universalist Culture: Stepping Out of Our Silos and Selves
  9. Kathleen McTigue, “Learning to Change: Immersion Learning and Climate Justice
  10. Peggy Clarke, "Eating the Earth"
Yours in faith,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit New:
Index of past sermons: HERE. Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE

Practice of the Week: Be For Yourself Think about what it's like to be a good friend to someone. Then ask: Am I that kind of friend to myself? If not, you could be too hard on yourself, too quick to feel you're falling short, too dismissive of what you get done each day. Or too half-hearted telling others what you really need. Or too resigned to your own pain, or too slow about doing those things -- both inside your head and outside it, in the wider world -- to make your life better. READ MORE

Your Moment of Zen: The Perfection of Character This is Raccoon's first appearance. And we haven't had a mention of Moose Roshi since way back in #3, when Raven was just starting out and visiting a number of teachers (including also Jackrabbit Roshi and Prairie Dog Roshi) before settling down with Brown Bear.

Practice is for perfecting our character. And our character is already perfected. Practice is about remembering and living from that fact. This is transformative. In fact, it's the most radical transformation possible. It changes you into what you've always been.

Case
Raccoon was a student of Moose Roshi at Cedarford, but he visited the Tallspruce community occasionally.
One day Raven invited him to have a snack and asked, "What does Moose Roshi teach?"
Raccoon said, "The practice of Zen is the perfection of character."
Raven said, "Transformation.
Raccoon said, "The Zen student trims the dead branches. It's the pigeon who can do the actual job."
Verse
The Will, Illusory Anyway

It's grace all the way down,
Even the pain and grief bits,
And, too, the wanting and striving bits --
All the doings my acquaintances call Meredith's,
In praise or in blame.

On my cushion, of a morning,
The world slowly lightening, there am I,
Trimming some dead branches, maybe,
Culling, weeding, making room
For something else to "do the actual job" --

Which it does, haphazardly,
And mentions, by the by,
That the way-preparing, garden-tending, discipline
Of hospitality to whatever guest may come --
The practice and intentions that seem of my making --

Come also from something else --
Something that watches, and sometimes whispers
It's grace all the way down.
Case by Robert Aitken, adapted; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

2019-02-28

Religious Education News: Sun Mar 3

With February at its end, we look forward to the arrival of spring. If anyone had wanted to witness a "spring" in the steps of our RE students, they could have seen it at our annual Alvin Ailey Dance Sunday program last Sunday, executed by LaToya Wigfall. LaToya has been coming to CUUC for 12 years, and recognized a few of the nine children (and one nursery toddler) in attendance, remarking at how big they had gotten. She immediately sat down and chatted with all of the kids, explaining the fun “moves” they were going to learn. Well, before you knew it we had scary music playing and the children were performing a version of zombie walking that put The Walking Dead to shame. The group dance was exuberant, choreographed to beating, pulsating instrumental rhythms. Our budding dance stars only had to see and practice the steps once to perform with accuracy, energy, and grace. The final pièce de résistance was right from Madonna’s repertoire of “strike a pose,” but done much better by our RE students. Everyone modeled and walked down the runway. The boys struck a superhero pose, crossing their arms and projecting, “I’m a cool dude,” while the girls promenaded down the runway, struck one pose, and another, and another, then flipped their hair, looked into their imaginary mirrors, and blew a kiss to themselves, the “fly girls.” Even little 2-year-old Ariana Alvarado was busting some moves! The kids were totally energized and engaged by the program, to the degree that watching them was contagious and made me smile. LaToya exerted such a warm and encouraging presence that she created an instantaneous bond with the kids. Undeniably, she is in an element where she belongs because she easily touched our students’ hearts and gave them the gift of laughter, pride, and accomplishment in the short period of one-and-a-half hours. Congratulations to all our RE students, who gave us a sneak preview of their potential as future stage and runway UU stars. Job well done to them and to LaToya!

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator


Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, March 3
Grades K-5 start in the sanctuary for the Wonder Box Story. Grades 6th-12th start in classrooms.

Pancake Brunch, Sun Mar 3, 11:30am, Fellowship Hall
Come flip for our flapjacks! Fundraiser sponsored by our Youth Group to support their social justice outreach. $5/adult, $3/child, $15/family.

Faith Development Friday, Fri Mar 8, 6:15pm, Fellowship Hall
Join us for our next Faith Development Friday gathering for pizza and salad dinner at 6:15, and programs at 7:00. Adult RE will be a book discussion of this year’s UUA “common read” Justice on Earth, led by Rev. Garmon. Family Journey Group will discuss this month’s topic “Desire.” All are welcome to stay after for coffee and conversation. RSVP by 12:00 noon Fri Mar 8 to cuucevents@gmail.com.

2019 Variety Show Fundraiser, Sat May 4, 5:00pm
Help us get ready for the fun! BAKE SALE sign-ups: Contact Benetta Barnett (benettabarnett@hotmail.com), RAFFLE PRIZE DONATIONS: Contact Liz Suvanto (elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com).

Metro NY Youth Conference, March 29-31, UU Congregation of Danbury, CT
Our spring Youth Con in Danbury is for kids in grades 9-12. At cons district youth meet one another, build community, explore their religious identity, create worship, practice leadership, and have fun. Information and registration links HERE. Registrar is Monica Schlichting (monikai@optonline.net).

Metro NY Spring Junior High Youth Conference, April 6-7, CUUC
Registration is open! This 24-hour event for youth in grades 6-8 is a fun opportunity to connect with other UU youth. Information and registration links HERE. Registrar is Charlie Neiss (cneiss@aol.com).

2019-02-27

Music: Sun Mar 3


Join us this Sunday when CUUC Choir Pianist Georgianna Pappas treats us to a program of keyboard classics by J. S. Bach and Frederic Chopin! Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Georgianna Pappas, piano
Prelude in B-flat Major, W.T.C. 1
Toccata in E minor
                                                J. S. Bach


Opening Music:
Mazurka in E Minor, Op. 17, No. 2            
                                                Chopin


Offertory
Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17, No. 4              
                                                Chopin

Interlude:
Mazurka in G minor Opus 24, no. 1            
                                                Chopin


-->

2019-02-22

From the Minister, Fri Feb 22

The 2018-19 UUA Common Read is:

Come discuss the book! Fri Mar 8, 7:00 at CUUC.

This week, I’m looking at Chapter 10:
Peggy Clarke, "Eating the Earth.”

Rev. Clarke begins with the story of what rewarding fun she found when she joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) – the party with friends who came over to celebrate and partake of the bounty; and learning to can with her neighbors.

Then she got involved with a project to bring people together across generational lines. A community garden seemed just the ticket. “In light of consistent reports of isolation from every corner of American culture, participating in life-sustaining, communal, multigenerational activities that deepen our connection to Earth could become a healing balm” (110).

She co-founded InterGenerate, “a small food-justice organization” for establishing community gardens for which participant neighbors pay $50 a year and commit to “shared work and communal engagement.” A couple years in they were up to four gardens and an “experiment of communal caretaking for about 45 chickens with 25 households.”

Bananas, for instance, from a New York grocery store come to us from Latin American plantations created from deforestation and habitat destruction. They come to us from farm workers who pick them, earning less than a living wage; women who drop them into vats of a carcinogenic solution that slows ripening, at risk of illness and early death from exposure to those chemicals; workers who box them and others who truck them, driving diesel trucks that burn fossil fuels and produce pollutants.

“I am accountable,” says Clarke, “for how food gets to my plate” (112). I’d say, rather, that we are responsible, but not accountable, and we’d like to accountable. We yearn for relationships of accountability; the meaning of our lives flows from embeddedness in relationships that compel us to account for ourselves. That we aren’t accountable to the food supply-chain contributes to deracinated (literally, “uprooted,” appropriately enough), alienated lives. What we desperately need is to become accountable – to form relationships that hold us accountable. In the cooperative labor and the sharing of neighborhood gardens, along with the sustaining food, participants are fed by robust, hearty accountings they give and receive, in word and in body -- rather than the wan, abstracted, depersonalized accounting offered by the credit card swipe with which we buy bananas.

Neighborhood gardens build relationships and build community. They reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to saving the planet. They offer an alternative to the food system in which labor is exploited and polluting effects are felt mostly by the poor and communities of color.

These gardens transform participants from isolated and disconnected lonely individuals into people connected to their neighbors and to the good earth. It’s about the food, “but it’s also about harvesting a deeper way of living. It’s about planting and watering and weeding and harvesting community. It’s about deeper life, better life, shared life. It’s about being transformed” (116)

Questions:
1. “Food deserts” are places where affordable access to fresh produce and other healthy food options is limited. What food deserts are in and around Westchester?
2. How much do you know about the food supply-chain that brings food to your table? How might knowing more change what you do, and change you?

For my reflection/summary on previous chapters, click the title:
  1. Jennifer Nordstrom, "Intersectionality, Faith, and Environmental Justice"
  2. Paula Cole Jones, "The Formation of the Environmental Justice Movement"
  3. Sheri Prud'homme, "Ecotheology"
  4. Sofia Betancourt, "Ethical Implications of Environmental Justice"
  5. Adam Robersmith, "Cherishing Our World: Avoiding Despair in Environmental Justice Work"
  6. Peggy Clarke, Matthew McHale, "Becoming Resilient: Community Life for a New Age
  7. Kathleen McTigue, "Drawing on the Deep Waters: Contemplative Practice in Justice-Making
  8. Pamela Sparr, "Transforming Unitarian Universalist Culture: Stepping Out of Our Silos and Selves
  9. Kathleen McTigue, “Learning to Change: Immersion Learning and Climate Justice
Yours in faith,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit New:
Index of past sermons: HERE. Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE

Practice of the Week: Cultivate Self-Acceptance With practice, there’s no reason you can’t break the cycle of self-rejection. Step One: Agree to be willing to try another way. Step Two: Once the willingness is established, identify ways in which your old responses are attempts to reduce suffering by avoiding certain internal experiences. Step Three: Identify ways in which these entrenched and automatic responses have the paradoxical effect of increasing suffering. READ MORE

Your Moment of Zen: Attainment FDR famously told us, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." But that's a lot to fear! Fear is powerful and not easily subdued.

In an opposite -- yet similarly paradoxical -- vein, we might say that we have nothing to attain except the awareness that we have nothing to attain. But that's a lot to attain!

Then there's remembering that we have nothing to attain. Even if we attain a moment of the awareness, it is easily soon forgotten. Attaining a life of continual remembrance that we have nothing to attain -- that's even harder to attain. Yet...there's nothing at all to attain. Never has been.

The verse by Keizan Jokin (1268-1325) for Denkoroku case #41 (translated by John Cook) makes the point:
Seeking it oneself with empty hands
You return with empty hands;
In that place where fundamentally nothing is acquired,
You really acquire it.
Alternative translations of the last two lines include Thomas Cleary's: "Where there is fundamentally not attainment, /After all one attains." And Hubert Nearman's: "Since, from the first, there was nothing to realize, /now, being satisfied, I have realized! (tr. Hubert Nearman)

Case
That same evening Owl said, "I've heard that you should not try to attain anything. What do you think?"
Raven said, "Not attain anything? Then what are you doing here?"
Owl said, "I think the idea is that we're Buddhas already, so there's nothing to attain."
Raven said, "An attained being said that."
Verse
One eye sees the effortlessness,
   of mountain, river, hackberry and elm
The other eye sees the minute and vast efforts
   of the earth pushing up a mountain,
   of water pushing a path around every rise,
   of photosynthesizing leaves, nutrient-grabbing roots,
      and a trillion busy cells.
Depth perception takes two angles of view.
Case by Robert Aitken, adapted; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Zen at CUUC, Sat Feb 23: SEE HERE

2019-02-21

Religious Education News: Sun Feb 24

In spite of the fact there were no RE classes, students who came to CUUC with their families last Sunday enjoyed a morning full of high spirits, good food, and a celebration of music from our children’s music director, Lyra Harada.

An animated group of children came to room 41 ready for a full session with Lyra but anticipating, "what are we going to do?" A few looked pensive, some perhaps a tad bored, but for the most part, curious. Lyra took charge immediately and enthusiastically explained the two-part lesson. The first part had two teams answering questions or statements about musicians of color in honor of Black History Month. Using a flip chart, Lyra asked the group to identify their favorite performers of color, and before you knew it there was a cacophony of answers shouted out, from Aretha Franklin to Beyoncé, Michael Jackson to Gladys Knight. To further tease the participants, Lyra asked them to identify short snippets of the performers' music. All the students "got into the action," answering true or false by standing in the section of the room labeled as such. It really became a fun game!

At the completion of this segment they settled down to enjoy snacks while Lyra played a number of musical pieces and students tried to identify the name of the song and what movie or play it was from. It was a credit to Lyra to see how the kids jumped up and down with pride when they got an answer right and shouted over each other to produce a healthy competition. Certainly those people sitting in the lobby could attest to the fun going on in the room, judging by the voices emanating up the stairwell.

Our Fun Sunday was a delight as it showcased Lyra's thoughtful music presentation in the form of a fun, engaging activity. The kids related to the music, showed off their singing ability (one older student sang all the words to a Hamilton song - impressive to say the least!), and one first grader recognized a song by Phil Collins. (I don't think the child had even been born when the song came out - amazing!)

They say music is the universal language, and so the music with the kids transcended all ages and brought out the exuberance that only young people can demonstrate!

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, Feb 24
All ages are in Fellowship Hall for Alvin Ailey Dance Sunday.

2019 Variety Show, Sat May 4, 5:00pm
SAVE THE DATE: Our Annual Variety Show is always one of the most FUN fundraisers at CUUC, and the event where everyone, children to adults, pitch in and create meaningful ties to a social justice cause. Sign up in the RE lobby and get ready to rock! HELP WANTED: The Variety Show requires all hands on deck. PLEASE help by signing up to be our Bake Sale Director, or Head of Donations, or Pizza Dinner Coordinator. Learn more HERE. Contact Liz Suvanto (elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com). When the big jobs are filled, the smaller details fall into place and the fun can begin! ~ The Variety Show Team

2019-02-20

Music: Sun Feb 24

Anger—irrational, righteous, explosive—finds expression in the solo piano music performed at Sunday morning’s worship service. Sometimes characterized as a Titan shaking his fists at the Heavens, Beethoven seems to unleash a natural fury in the final movement of his so-called “Moonlight Sonata,” performed as part of the Centering Music. The Chicago-born Robert Muczynski contributes a short, punchy Prelude, which traverses the extremes of the keyboard of an insistent, menacing ostinato. In the Offertory, a movement from Robert Schumann’s Kreisleriana provides a portrait of the fictitious character Johannes Kreisler in one of his fits of outraged alienation. In its central section, the piece mimics the rational development of a Bach fugal exposition, but the frenzied pace recalls the original meaning of the French word fugue: flight. Elsewhere, the CUUC Choir is on hand with less irritable creations, including Harold Arlen’s aspirational “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and the uplifting “Fill-a Me Up.” Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight”
                      III. Presto agitato
                                                          Ludwig van Beethoven

Prelude No. 6
                                                          Robert Muxzynski

Anthem: CUUC Choir directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
                Music by Harold Arlen, Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg, arr. by Mark Hayes

Offertory:
Kreisleriana, Op. 16
                        VII: Sehr rasch
                                                          Robert Schumann

Anthem: Kim Armstrong Force and Ernest Kennedy, Soloists
"Fill-a Me Up"
                                                          Pepper Choplin

2019-02-14

From the Minister, Thu Feb 14

The 2018-19 UUA Common Read is:

This week, I’m looking at Chapter 9:
Kathleen McTigue, “Learning to Change: Immersion Learning and Climate Justice.”

McTigue spent 6 months in the 1980s in Nicaragua as a volunteer host for visiting US citizens encountering the realities of Contra violence. For many, the experience “completely changed their understanding, perspective, and actions – and in some cases, their lives” (97).

Experiential journeys aren’t always done well, but when they are, participants “see more vividly the ways our political and economic systems leave entire populations in the margins, both within our nation and around the world, and we begin to learn what it can mean to become effective allies to their struggles” (98).

Approaching climate change with a “justice lens” means learning about and accepting the leadership of the “voices, choices, and needs of these frontline communities most affected.” McTigue offers four guidelines:

1. Always work with a partner organization made up of the people who are directly affected. “They are in a position to tell us what they actually need from us, and though that sometimes feels incongruent with our expectations, we are far more likely to be of genuine use” (100).

2. Focus on justice rather than service. Service “helps people with an immediate and chronic need,” while justice involves seeking “to challenge and change the systems that give rise to that need in the first place.” Both are important, but the needs of justice are likely to be less tangible and satisfying than service labor. The people need us to hear their stories, “bear witness to their struggles and victories,” “honor the solutions they choose for themselves,” “look unflinchingly at the historic, systemic injustices that may continue to benefit us today,” and “go home prepared to roll up our sleeves and tackle those systems” (102).

3. Use a study framework before, during, and after the program. Before you leave, study up about the community you’ll be visiting and the background of your partner organization. During the encounter experience, study yourself – observe with curiosity the reactions you’re having. Continued study after you get home helps integrate your experience.

4. Ground the program and participants in reflection and spiritual practices. Group reflection helps collective wisdom emerge. Prayer or meditation quiets our inner noise and helps us be less reactive, more open – and able to set aside the urge to “fix it.” “We come up with a great idea that will surely make things better, like a scholarship program or a solar lamp project. As well-meaning as these ideas may be, if they spring from our own need to be of use and are not rooted in the wisdom of the host community, they are likely to have unintended negative results” (105).

Questions
1. Would you be interested in taking an immersion justice learning trip? (The UU College of Social Justice has a number of options: see uucsj.org)
2. What “immersion” experience with a frontline community might be available to you right here in Westchester?

For my reflection/summary on previous chapters, click the title:
  1. Jennifer Nordstrom, "Intersectionality, Faith, and Environmental Justice"
  2. Paula Cole Jones, "The Formation of the Environmental Justice Movement"
  3. Sheri Prud'homme, "Ecotheology"
  4. Sofia Betancourt, "Ethical Implications of Environmental Justice"
  5. Adam Robersmith, "Cherishing Our World: Avoiding Despair in Environmental Justice Work"
  6. Peggy Clarke, Matthew McHale, "Becoming Resilient: Community Life for a New Age
  7. Kathleen McTigue, "Drawing on the Deep Waters: Contemplative Practice in Justice-Making
  8. Pamela Sparr, "Transforming Unitarian Universalist Culture: Stepping Out of Our Silos and Selves
Yours in faith,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit New:
See the video HERE



Index of past sermons: HERE. Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE

Practice of the Week: Explore Desire Through Renunciation Lent (which, in 2019, begins Wed Mar 6 and continues, excluding Sundays, through Sat Apr 20) is a tradition that invites us into the spiritual practice of renunciation and self-denial. This week's practice honors that tradition -- but with a twist. For this practice, there's as much over-indulgence as there is self-denial. READ MORE.

Your Moment of Zen: Blasphemy
Blasphemy. For the ancient Hebrews, blasphemy was the crime of undermining the rule of YHWH over the Jews, and was thus analogous to treason. Blasphemy was, until recently, generally forbidden by law in the US and Europe. Blasphemy was understood to be:
"denying the being or providence of God, contumelious reproaches of our Saviour Christ, profane scoffing at the Holy Scripture, or exposing it to contempt or ridicule" (Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1769)
or
"maliciously reviling God or religion" (Kent, Commentaries on American Law, 1826)
or
"speaking evil of the Deity with an impious purpose to derogate from the Divine Majesty and to alienate the minds of others from the love and reverence of God" (Lemuel Shaw, 1781-1861, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court)
Raven declines to define the term, providing instead an example.

Case
One evening Woodpecker asked, "What is blasphemy?"
Raven said, "The Buddha Macaw was perfectly enlightened."

Verse
I.
Don't fall for it, friend,
That presumption that perfection is crystalline,
As fixed as Keats' Urn.
No, the perfection of a thing
Is its motion, its dance of
Flourishing, fruition, aging, decay --
Or it's nothing.
Gotama's perfection was a path.
It killed Jesus
To be nailed in place.

II.
Blasphemy and idolatry.
Cure each other --
And leave you just as sick.
Choose your poison.
Case by Robert Aitken, adapted; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Zen at CUUC, Sat Feb 16: SEE HERE

2019-02-13

Religious Education News: Sun Feb 17

This past Sun Feb 10 was the tremendously exciting “kick off” to our upcoming Variety Show. All the students (with the exception of 8-9 OWL, who voted in their classroom) were in attendance in Fellowship Hall for the Big Vote to select which organization will receive the proceeds from this annual RE fundraiser. Liz Suvanto, our lead facilitator, told the children about the event and described the three nominated groups to be considered. She showed brief videos on each and conducted a great exchange of questions, answers, opinions, and other feedback. Each student got stickers, which they placed on their voting card to show which group they felt was most deserving. Liz reminded everyone, including the adults in the room, that a tremendous amount of work still has to be done on the bake sale and donation drive. Everyone seemed really pumped! We are awaiting the final count and will soon announce which organization won. The Teacher Enrichment Luncheon workshop took place in Fellowship Hall at 11:45 with director of faith development Perry Montrose and me. The discussion centered around feedback from the teachers on problems to be solved, concerns to be shared, and of course ideas to create the most meaningful and engaging classroom experience for both the students and teachers. Perry accentuated that in a successful classroom teachers lean less on conversation and more on leading the class in activities that foster a fun and enjoyable lesson. The paramount theme was that RE classes should not be school, but a spiritual exercise. Each teacher was then asked to recall a mentor in their life and select attributes of that individual. I filled a flip chart with a plethora of the adjectives used to describe these people, and we all agreed that most of these descriptions should apply to our RE teachers. Many more topics continued to unfold, and of course time ran out. However everyone enjoyed the workshop and requested more, which Perry and I will be planning. Thanks to all the teachers, and congregants such as Liz, for their enthusiasm, dedication, and desire to see CUUC become even more alive with a sense of community. Thanks also to Perry for his endless energy and knowledge, which he so unselfishly shares with us all. Great job, everyone!

Michele Rinaldi
RE Coordinator

Looking ahead...

RE This Sunday, Feb 17
All ages are in room 41 for Fun Sunday activities.

2019 Variety Show, Sat May 4, 5:00pm
SAVE THE DATE: Our Annual Variety Show is always one of the most FUN fundraisers at CUUC, and the event where everyone, children to adults, pitch in and create meaningful ties to a social justice cause. Sign up in the RE lobby and get ready to rock! HELP WANTED: The Variety Show requires all hands on deck. PLEASE help by signing up to be our Bake Sale Director, or Head of Donations, or Pizza Dinner Coordinator. Learn more HERE. Contact Liz Suvanto (elizabethsuvanto@hotmail.com). When the big jobs are filled, the smaller details fall into place and the fun can begin! ~ The Variety Show Team

2019-02-12

Music: Sun Feb 17


Thoughts of deepest desire prompt this morning’s musical selections, which include two songs by African-American composer Jeraldine Saunders Herbison, performed by our own Mary Lane Cobb. The Centering Music includes excerpts from Robert Schumann’s Kreisleriana, a work written during years of yearning and frustration between the composer and his fiancée Clara Wieck. In a letter to Clara, Schumann writes of the Kreisleriana: ““I'm overflowing with music and beautiful melodies …You and one of your ideas play the main role in it, and I want to dedicate it to you – yes, to you and nobody else – and then you will smile so sweetly when you discover yourself in it.” Then, he dedicated the published work to Frederic Chopin.

Franz Schubert’s Sehnsuchts Waltzer takes its nickname from the deep desire it has communicated to generations of listeners, and Felix Mendelssohn himself subtitled his Song without Words in A-flat Major “Duetto,” an apt description of its intertwining, lyrically straining lines. Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Kreisleriana, Op. 16
            I. Ausserst bewegt
            II. Sehr innig und nicht zu rasch
                                                Robert Schumann

Opening Music:
Sehnsuchts Waltzer, Op. 9, No. 2
                                                Franz Schubert

Offertory:
Song without Words in A-flat Major, Op. 38, No. 6  “Duetto”
                                                Felix Mendelssohn

Interlude: Mary Lane Cobb, soprano
From Five Art Songs for Voice and Piano
            “We Met By Chance”*
            “I’ll Not Forget”**
                                                Jeraldine Saunders Herbison

*”We met by chance this man and I.
He looking-seeking-straining to communicate
And finding few who cared to listen
I listened and found pleasure in his words.”
William Curtis

**”In a single file, my brain has set a list of things I’ll not forget.
A sudden rain on roof or barn,
The greyness on a bark of Beech,
Some cowbells heard through morning fog;
The barking of a country dog that knows no fright and
Yet must talk back to the night.
I’ll not forget the wood-smoke smell of pine,
Or the cowbarn when the hay was new.
I’ll not forget the thrill of Love or You!”
Max Ellision